Preserving Our Outdoor Heritage
Few Americans fully appreciate the importance of hunting and shooting sports to conservation. In 1937, a national coalition of hunters concerned about the long-term fate of America’s natural lands and wildlife supported passage of a federal tax on hunting gear to fund wildlife conservation at state and federal levels. Known as the Pittman-Robertson Act, this landmark legislation has generated more than $10.5 billion – yes, billion — for the conservation of wildlife and habitat across the United States.
At the same time, in the absence of large natural predators, which have been eliminated in most of the continental United States, hunting is the most important and effective tool for keeping populations of deer and other game animals – including non-native, destructive wild pigs – in balance. By leasing lands for hunting, hunters also provide an important economic incentive for farmers and other private landowners to manage their lands for wildlife.
But the number of Americans who hunt has dropped sharply as older generations of hunters retire from hunting. Too few younger people are taking their place, leading to significant ecological and economic issues. State and federal wildlife agencies in response have launched “R3” – a national program to retain, reactivate and recruit new people to hunting.
The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida financially supports FWC’s efforts to attract a new generation of men and women to hunting and the shooting sports, including archery. We also make grants to protect and manage important wildlife habitats and ensure public access to hunting lands, while improving deer stands, creating food plots, funding construction of wheelchair-accessible blinds and much else. One of our largest current projects is completing funding for the Palm Beach Shooting Sports Park, a multipurpose shooting facility that when opened in 2019, will be able to host collegiate, national and Olympic caliber competitive events, as well as accommodate the novice and weekend hobbyist.
You can help support the Foundation’s hunting and shooting sports initiative by making a donation here or buying the “Wildlife Foundation of Florida” specialty license plate that features the image of a deer. For every plate sold, our Foundation receives $25 for the above programs.